An Iraqi Christian pastor and one of his deacons reportedly narrowly escaped death recently when they went to get a church bus repaired at a local garage in Baghdad and a bomb reportedly detonated just moments after they exited the building.
Pastor Maher Fouad of New Testament Baptist Church in Baghdad is no stranger to dangerous threats, as he has boldly run a Christian radio station there for the past decade, praying on air and sharing the Christian gospel.
It's an effort that has led to numerous death threats from those opposed to his message. While it is unclear if the bomb that detonated was aimed at Fouad, the situation shows the dire nature of life in modern-day Iraq; it also shows the danger that Fouad is willing to live under in an effort to continue his ministry work.
"On Tuesday our Baghdad church bus broke down and needed a spare part," reads a post on Iraqi Christian radio station 102.9 FM. "Pastor Maher Fouad and a deacon from the church went to a garage to fix it. The mechanic told Maher that he doesn’t have the part and directed him to another garage."
It was when Fouad drove the bus out of the garage and into the street that a bomb went off inside the garage, killing the mechanic, as well as at least one other individual who was in another vehicle traveling behind the bus.
While the windows of the church bus were shattered from the explosion, both the preacher and the deacon who had accompanied him were left unharmed.
Fouad founded and runs 102.9 FM, which is the only Christian radio station in Baghdad, according to the Christian Post.
In fact, the station is reportedly Iraq's first-ever Christian radio outfit, with Fouad telling CBN News over the weekend about why he continues his efforts amid threats from the Islamic State to bring the Christian gospel to millions of individuals in the region.
"When we started this project, it was a pioneering project," he told the outlet. "No one ever applied for a radio station in the history of Iraq, especially a Christian radio station."
Ten years later, Fouad continues his ministry despite the fact that many Christians have fled the region due to ongoing violence in the country and, most recently, the brutal acts of the Islamic State terror group.
Despite these challenges, the station has continued to grow and now reaches eight million individuals, with Fouad refusing to back away from the Christian gospel.
"Out of all these radio stations that broadcast violence and negative news, our radio station appeared broadcasting the gospel and the good news of Jesus Christ," he told CBN News. "I pray publicly on our radio station so all the Iraqis will hear it. Not only Christians but also Muslims call us live on the air requesting that we pray for them."
"The Lord protected us, and I believe the Lord will protect us also in the coming days," Fouad said, noting that he has no plans to stop his radio ministry.